5 Tips to Writing Effective Emails to Underwriters & Clients
Emails have become our primary way of communication. Even Lloyds of London, a traditional institution with a face to face business culture, is focused on modernization. The use of electronic messaging is meant to increase efficiency and decrease costs.
But is spending hours writing an email that will go unread efficient? Are underwriters able to seize on profitable opportunities, or are they overwhelmed deciphering burdensome emails? What about clients who perceive insurance as complicated and cumbersome? Are we making it easy for them to understand our message?
The challenge, for all of us, becomes sifting through 200+ emails a day. Make your emails stand out by picking up a few tips for creating eye-catching messages that will get read!
The five tips
In the insurance industry, communication flows from the insurance company to the broker and then to the client. Though indirectly, we typically engage in three-way communication. Be conscious of the ultimate recipient of your emails, as it may not necessarily be whom you name as the recipient. This awareness will help you customize the message to your final audience.
If you know the recipient, try to mirror the tone of the reader. People speak and write the way they like to be written to. Some like smiley faces, some don’t like them :). Don’t be afraid to drop the weird formalities like, “please see attached” as no one speaks like that in real life. Try to type as you would speak to that person.
If you don’t know the recipient, using a friendly, warm conversational tone will make your email more comfortable to read. Also, think about your relationship with the recipient in the long term. You will do business with the email recipient again and again in the future. A warm, friendly tone will be better received and can open the door to more business opportunities.
A grabber is essentially what your email is about, a summary of what’s to come. Synthesizing your email into one opening sentence will not only grab the readers’ attention but also help you keep your email to point.
Ask yourself, why should the recipient be interested in opening and reading your email? What is in it for them and why should they take time from their busy day to read it.
We live in a world where we all are overwhelmed with information. Long text is intimidating, especially when it relates to insurance. Make your emails easy to read by keeping your paragraphs to two or three sentences.
White space between text is soothing for the eyes, making emails more natural to read. One sentence paragraphs look weird, so switch it up between two and five sentences per paragraph. The mix of shorter and longer sections combined with the white space will have an eye-catching effect!
The use of subheadings creates structure and helps the brain gobble and digest the bites of information. Keep the subtitles short and to the point to create an outline of your most important points.
Use bullet points where appropriate to summarize key points. A good example is when communicating steps in an action plan such as renewal timeline and plan, specific details about a risk, or explanations such as why insurance rates are on the rise.
Use bold text or italics to highlight important information. Most of us scan documents before picking and choosing what to read. Bold text makes it easy to find the sections on which to focus.
As you are wrapping up your email, go back to the opening sentence of your email where you established your purpose. What is the next step in achieving your objective? An effective way to end an email is by stating a timeline for your subsequent interaction or conveying your expectations. Examples: “I will call you this afternoon to review my email.” “Please confirm by the end of the day tomorrow if you will be providing a quote.” “I will send you a calendar invitation for a renewal meeting for next Thursday.” “Please call me back when you have reviewed the information contained on this email”
Have a simple and clear subject
The Email Subject is the first thing that anyone reads (sees?) in any email and is often one of the factors that influence the recipient to open and read the emails. Whatever is said, most of the readers ‘judge’ the email by the ‘Subject’ line.
In fact, a lot of recipients decide whether to open an email or not, based on the subject – when they receive emails from non-contacts or strangers. It is the most precise content of the email, and most business relationships have begun with great subject lines. Your subject line should be a small summary of the email and can also set an expectation on the call to action needed from the email. In short, your subject should be able to pull the attention of the recipient, enough to click on the email and read it.
My first instinctive reaction was “What the *bleep*?” I actually stopped reading the moment the email flashed open, because my eyes hurt from the brightness of the bold fonts. My follow up questions were: What do you need from me? What the heck are you selling? Why should I care?
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